Vivien Leigh, “I am going to be a great actress.”

Posted in honor of Vivien Leigh – a great beauty and a brilliant talent.  One of the most admired and beloved women to ever grace the silver screen, Leigh became a legend despite having made less than twenty films in her career.  She remains the screen’s greatest enchantress.


Her talent…

As Scarlett O’Hara in Victor Fleming’s, Gone with the Wind (1939)

“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

“You sir are no gentlemen.”

As Myra Lester in Mervyn LeRoy’s, Waterloo Bridge (1940)

“I loved you, I’ve never loved anyone else. I never shall, that’s the truth Roy, I never shall.”

As Emma Lady Hamilton in Alexander Korda’s, That Hamilton Woman (1941)

“…and I forgot London, and the old ways. I was young. I healed quickly. I learned French and Italian, music and dancing. And one day, I had more than I ever dreamed of. I became his wife… Emma, Lady Hamilton.”

As Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan’s, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951):

“A woman’s charm is 50% illusion.”

“But some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable! It is the one unforgivable thing, in my opinion, and the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty.”

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

“Oh look, we have created enchantment.”

As Karen Stone in Jose Quintero’s, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)

“You see… I don’t leave my diamonds in the soap dish… and when the time comes when nobody desires me… for myself… I’d rather not be… desired… at all.”

Her beauty…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Her words…

[when asked to take over Joan Crawford‘s role in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)] “No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford’s face at six o’clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis‘.”

[on Warren Beatty“He has the kind of magnetic sensuality you could light torches with.”

“I’m not a film star, I am an actress. Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity.”

“I don’t know what that Method is. Acting is life, to me, and should be.”

“People think that if you look fairly reasonable, you can’t possibly act, and as I only care about acting, I think beauty can be a great handicap.”

“Sometimes I dread the truth of the lines I say. But the dread must never show.”


And, a special presentation…

From 1950 – Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier star in a Lux Radio Theater presentation of “Rebecca”

“Dear Lord, I’m so grateful I’m still loved.”



Be sure to watch Turner Classic Movies‘ day-long tribute to the Vivien Leigh in celebration of her centennial on Tuesday, November 5.  Also, in case you haven’t heard a highly regarded new biography dedicated to the screen legend, Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean of is now available anywhere books are sold.

4 thoughts

  1. This was an interesting quote: “Sometimes I dread the truth of the lines I say. But the dread must never show.”

    With all of Vivien’s 100th Birthday activity, I’m finding that the more I learn about her the more I like her.

    1. That quote kills me and brings to mind her Blanche DuBois immediately. To make a bigger impact I thought of following it with an image of an older Vivien, but honestly it broke my heart. She seemed to me such a fragile creature.


  2. What a lovely tribute . Your slide show is hypnotic — I couldn’t stop looking! And the Lux Radio Theatre performance is an extra treat. I remember that Olivier really wanted Leigh for the movie, and was angry when she didn’t get it. I do think Leigh was much too gorgeous for the part of the mousy little Mrs. DeWinter, but boy she would have been great as Rebecca if she had ever been shown!

  3. I am a great fan of Vivien Leigh. I found out about her in the 1960’s she was not only beautiful but a talented actress. The critics who could not see that beauty and talent could not be possible only had to look at Vivien Leigh. I especially liked her performance in a Streetcar named Desire such pathos on Vivien Leigh’s part. Unfortunately i learnt when i read a book on her life about her mental health problems which was very sad she suffered in extremes with this illness but she always tried to keep on going not to let her public down. I am also a fan of her ex-husband Laurence Olivier what an actor he was nothing seemed out of his reach regarding acting roles. It was very sad their union ended but quite honestly i think they still help each other in high regard right up to their deaths VL in 1967 and LO 1989.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s